Taking days off for winter weather now means being in class during spring weather for University of North Georgia students.
President Bonita Jacobs told students spring semester will be extended from April 25 to May 1, with graduation scheduled for May 9-10.
“We are fortunate to have these days available between the end of finals and commencement,” Jacobs wrote in an email to all students, faculty and staff Friday. “Not all universities do and some may be using days from spring break.”
The university students have missed six class days since January because of winter weather.
“In the case of short-term closures, faculty can typically make up the lost class time in other ways,” university spokeswoman Kate Maine said. “With this many days lost ... extending the academic calendar is the most effective way to make up that time.”
Maine said using Saturdays or spring break were considered, but said it was too close to spring break for many to change their plans. She added several students with part-time jobs would be disserviced if they used Saturdays for class time.
“We owe it to our students to provide the instructional time,” Maine said.
The Fall 2013 tuition schedule on the university’s website states that, for a student with 12 credit hours that semester, tuition and mandatory costs for in-state students is $2,848.60, or $7,881.40 for out-of-state students.
Students at the Gainesville campus on Monday had positive reactions to the news.
“I guess if we need to go, we need to go,” dual-enrollment student Cara Herbert said. “I would rather do just end of school year because I definitely want to go on spring break and I do not want to go on
Saturdays, so I’d rather just come Saturdays, so I’d rather just come an extra day.”
North Georgia is not alone in adding extra time; the University of Georgia has designated two Saturdays this semester to make up missed classes. Professors there can choose either March 22 to make up Monday, Wednesday and Friday classes, or March 29 to make up Tuesday and Thursday classes.
While Lanier Technical College hasn’t decided to stretch the academic calendar, spokesman Dave Parrish said a plan is being discussed to make up the missed time.
“The subject (and) need was briefly discussed as we made plans to close for winter storm Pax,” he said.
How missed time is made up is up to the individual instructors at Brenau University.
“Everyone uses a learning management system that can be accessed remotely by every student,” Brenau spokesman David Morrison said. “They can use that for expanded discussion and additional assignments.
“There may be some assignment deadlines extended or canceled, but that’s up to the professor,” he added.
As far as adding the extra days, Maine said the only stress factor is extending the contract with food services, details of which are being ironed out now. Students will not incur any extra costs, she added.
Reaction was both bleak and weak on the University of North Georgia’s Facebook page, with around 20 people responding negatively to the announcement. A petition for Saturday classes rather than tacking on extra days at the end of the year has garnered only seven signatures.
But for the most part, it seems students are OK with missing some extra days out of their summer to make up for time spent in the snow.
“I think it’s good,” sophomore nursing major Elizabeth Flores said. “We can have time to study for tests that we have, because (the weather) did take a few days off and we’re kind of behind now.”